Vermilion native earns international fame in fashion design show

VERMILION, Ohio — A northeast Ohio native is in the international spotlight for his cutting-edge fashion designs and groundbreaking styling skills.

Curtis Cassell is getting high marks on Amazon Prime Video’s “Making the Cut” reality competition while giving loud shoutouts to his hometown of Vermilion.

“My favorites are just the posts that are just like, hey, keep doing you. I love that. It’s inspiring, you know?” Cassel said.

The Vermilion High School graduate’s designs are highly regarded.

As a contestant in the third season of Amazon Prime Video’s “Making the Cut,” the Vermilion High School graduate’s creativity and talent stood out among a crowd of ten designers from around the world.

They’re all up for a cool $1 million prize and mentorship with Amazon Fashion.

Every episode they design seeks a challenge.

The looks are judged by a panel of stars including Heidi Klum, Nicole Richie and Jeremy Scott.

After each fashion show, the winner’s accessible look with additional colors and complementary pieces is available in the Amazon store.

“Tim and Heidi were like the main thing they wanted to do with this new show — was to create a direct connection between the viewer and the consumer and the designer,” Cassell said.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity didn’t happen overnight.

Cassell applied for the show on a whim thanks to the encouragement of a friend.

For years he worked as a waiter and noticed there was an obvious discrepancy when it came to wedding attire.

He wanted to change the landscape and integrate his voice for the LGBTQIA+ community.

“I was working on a lot of weddings, and that’s when I realized, Wow, the marriage system is really binary. It’s literally a black suit and a white dress. There’s nothing in between. .”

At this time, the “Queera” clothing line from the Illinois Institute of Art – Chicago Interior Architecture was born.

Cassell describes it as a colorful grayscale of clothing that falls in between.

The motto adapts to your body, does not define your gender.

He says it’s a non-binary clothing brand for everyone – who is looking and really wants to feel.

“It was really important to me not to create gender-related clothes, but just to create different clothes that you can incorporate into your own wardrobe and wear however you want.”

Cassell says the show is starting to change his life, but his heart and family, including his mom, dad, brother Chris and both grandparents, are still in Vermilion, Ohio, where it all started. .

“It’s been really exciting, represent my state and my hometown, you know, little Vermillion, you know, Harbor Town on the lake.”

Though his family keeps him humble, he says he’ll never forget the moment model and show host Heidi Klum gave him a hell of a compliment.

“What you don’t see in the first episode – Heidi Klum criticizes me and she says, Oh, by the way, you’re very attractive. And yes, Caliente. And I just like to melt.”

Making the Cut is streaming now on Amazon’s Prime Video.

To discover Cassell’s creations, click here: QUEERA (

Joseph E. Golightly